After fighting the life and death battle of COVID-19 for over a year, long-term care communities are finally receiving their first positive statistic as the number of vaccinations outshines the number of positive tests.
LTC facilities finalized their vaccination process and pharmacy provider in November, before the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were approved.
Vaccinations Increase, New Cases Decrease
Nearly 800 nursing homes took part in a recent study with Center for Health Policy Evaluation in Long Term Care (CHPE) and American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) that examined the decline of positive Coronavirus cases.
All qualifying centers hosted their first vaccination clinic between December 18th and 27th.
Months later, the numbers show a 48% decrease in new resident cases nationally verse a 21% decline in non-vaccinated homes in the same counties.
Staff cases show a similar trend with a 33% decline in new cases in vaccinated homes as compared to a 18% drop in non-vaccinated homes in the same counties.
Outliers fall on both extremes with Michigan showing one of the most significant fluctuations. In Greater Lansing, a 97% decrease in cases in LTC residents and staff, and a 86% drop in residents statewide.
Administration Rates Hindered by Pharmacy Providers
Of the 15,000 skilled nursing facilities in the United States, nearly 8,000 chose to partner with CVS, and an additional 35,000 long-term care facilities selected to partner with Walgreens. All remaining facilities chose to partner with independent pharmacies.
LTC facilities in North Dakota and West Virginia, both states administering over 85% of available doses, were more likely to align with locally owned pharmacies as opposed to the federally supported CVS & Walgreens programs. LTC communities in states favoring the federal partnership option, have noted frustrations in vaccine retrieval time, ultimately hindering their distribution percentage.
Recent weather delays and vaccine hesitancy can also be to blame with vaccine delivery and administration rates.
Positivity Spreading Across the Nation
The decline in national cases is also shining through to those outside the LTC community. Nationally, only 5.7% of COVID-19 tests resulted in positive diagnosis the week of February 16, 2021; the lowest since October 2020.
During the same week, nearly 40 million Americans received one dose of either vaccine, of which 15 million people became fully vaccinated with their second dose.
Providers are averaging 1.5 million doses per day, only 75% of vaccines distributed. The lowest percentage comes from Alabama at just over 60% of available vaccines being administered, and New Mexico, Wisconsin, and North Dakota leading the charge at above 85%.
The FDA recently declared Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine safe and effective. As additional vaccines become available, distribution and administration rates have the potential to soar.
Until that time, it is hard to deny a correlation between increased vaccinations and dip in infection rates in the LTC community.
With variants popping up nationally and globally, and vaccine hesitancy still at play, Coronavirus will not fully dissipate. What statistics will que the public to curate a new normal? A routine with regained face to face interaction but still maintaining the beneficial procedures left in the wake of COVID-19.
As a team, we are grateful to be involved in sophisticated treatments like monoclonal antibodies such as Bamlanivimab, that advanced during the bleakness of 2020. We have seen and influenced higher sterility practices in the healthcare community, and beyond, and are thankful for the additional light shed on the home infusion community who adapted when isolation was forced upon the world.
While patient levels continue to fluctuate in both home infusion and LTC homes across the country, the Right Way Medical team remains steadfast in our approach to provide support to boost patient outcomes during – and after – the pandemic.